Working the dogs on the river

27 Jan

When someone mentions Hootentown, we immediately think about floatin’ and fishing the famous James river. Although that is the primary recreational use of the river, I remember the great quail hunting on the farms along it’s banks with their great river bottom fields. Once permission was obtained I could walk for miles with my dog, shotgun and a lot of shells. It was common to flush covey after covey and easily shoot your limit.  Many times we would have our limit and then have to walk back to the truck with the dog pointing dozens of singles. Most times just watching the dog work was what made the trip so much fun. I am sad to say this time was in the 60’s and 70’s for me. Since then the James river quail have gone the same way as quail throughout Missouri.  Bird numbers today are only a fraction of those in the past. Our farming ways have changed and so much land has been developed into homes. The bobwhite quail is Missouri’s game bird so I hope we can work to produce better habitat for them to survive. Quail hunters are a hardy bunch themselves. Even though they can’t find many wild birds these hunters still love the flush and working their dogs. In order to scratch this itch many have started buying game bird farm raised
birds. Properly raise in long natural fly pens these birds are very close to wild. They use them in a variety of ways.  From visiting hunting preserves, field trials, or training dogs on their own property. A very popular game bird farm is right here in
the Ozarks. In fact it is called ‘Ozarks Quail Farm’. Owned by a lifelong well known local sportsman, it produces about 15,000 quail per year. Hopefully we can see a rebirth of our wild bird population, but until then we hope the quail farmers will fill the void for a sport we love so much.

You can visit their website at: Stop by and contact them if you need some info on getting some birds. As a wise man once told me; Hunting & Fishing is not what we do, but who we are!!


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